A War Broke Out in Heaven


“Now a war broke out in Heaven. Michael and his Angels fought against the dragon and his angels.” (Rev. 12:7)

St. Michael soars above the Heavens bearing the Veil of the true image of the Face of Christ. 1516, Albrecht Durer

Mankind is in the midst of a battle, which has been fought since the beginning of Creation; between Christ’s Angels and the fallen angels or demons.  When God created the angels, they were tested before they could see Him face to face.  “God created man in His image; in the divine image he created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27) It is believed that it was revealed to the angels that God would become a man and not an angel. Then, Lucifer, being a proud spirit, responded “Non Serviam!” — I will not serve! St. Michael answered with the battlecry “Who is like God?” St. Michael and the Holy Angels have been given the authority from God by the power of His Holy Name to protect and defend God’s people against both human and diabolical enemies

St. Veronica column in St. Peter’s Basilica

There is a strong association between St. Michael and the devotion to the Face of Christ. For many centuries St. Michael was depicted with the Sudarium Veil of the Face of Jesus. Devotion to the Face of Jesus is meant to repair mankind’s broken relationship with God, manifested in the world by the evil of blasphemy, sacrilege, and indifference.  This work of reparation honoring His Holy Face and His Name–which is the concrete sign of God’s existence and our relationship with Him–has been given the protection and help of the Holy Angels. Sr. Marie St. Pierre was a French Discalced Carmelite nun to whom Our Lord gave revelations of the Devotion to His Holy Face.  She wrote on November 18, 1843:

“One day during prayer, our Lord warned me in advance about the fury of Satan against the holy devotion [to the Holy Face of Jesus], but He also consoled me, saying: ‘I give you My Name to be your light in the darkness and your strength in battle. Satan will do all in his power to crush this Work at its roots. But I assure you that the Holy Name of God will triumph, and it will be the Holy Angels who willl gain the victory in the conflict.” 

Engraving by Albercht Durer
Church of St. Michael/Sanctuary Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello (photo: Paul Badde)

St. Michael is named as the primary patron of devotion to the Holy Face.  This is reflected in many ancient works of art in churches where St. Michael or the Holy Angels are portrayed holding the Veil of the Face of Christ. A fascinating article was written by Gelsimo Del Guercio (here) about seven sanctuaries, dedicated to St. Michael, which are linked by a straight line called the “Sword of St. Michael.” The imaginary line “represents the blow with which St. Michael sent the devil to hell.”  I would like to add an eighth Sanctuary to the list: The church of the Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello. In God’s mysterious design this sanctuary, which contains a miraculous veil of the Face of Jesus, was named for St. Michael though no one who is alive today remembers why. The sanctuary, in Manoppello, Italy, falls at the center, on a map, of the legendary “Sword of St. Michael.”  St. Michael and the Holy Angels come to our aid and they are bearing His Holy Face!

Holy Face Veil of Manoppello, in the Church of St. Michael, Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face, photo: Patricia Enk

There is a hard battle being fought all around us in the Heavens and on earth. We would do well, therefore, to imitate St. Michael, Prince of the Heavenly Hosts, who humbly chose as his weapons to adore the Holy Face and invoke the Holy Name of God!

Detail of St. Michael sculpture holding the Holy Face by Cody Swanson
Angels adoring the Holy Face of Jesus, Venice, Illustration for the Divine Comedy of Dante, 13th Century”

How Beautiful His Face!

St. Padre Pio
St. Padre Pio

“I never cease to implore blessings for you from Jesus, and to beg the Lord to transform you totally in Him.  How beautiful His Face, how sweet His eyes and what a good thing it is to stay close to Him…”–St. Padre Pio O.F.M.Cap

St. Padre Pio, a Friar Minor Capuchin priest and mystic, was well-known for his many spiritual gifts such as the stigmata, bi-location, and for his ability to read the hearts of penitents who came to him in confession.  During his life St. Padre Pio suffered as Our Lord did, not only through physical pain, but by humiliations, calumny, slander and mistrust that deeply wounded his heart, in this he shared in the suffering of the Face of Christ.

He wrote in his meditations on The Agony of Jesus of the Face of Jesus, the “Innocent Lamb,” “His Face covered with sadness and at the same time with love:”

Holy Veil of Manoppello
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

“He [Jesus] seems to be at the extremity of suffering… He is prostrate with His Face to the ground before the majesty of His Father.  The Sacred Face of Him Who enjoys through the hypostatic union the beatific vision of the Divine Glory accorded to both Angels and Saints in Heaven, lies disfigured on the ground.  My God!  My Jesus!  Art Thou not the God of Heaven and earth, equal in all things to Thy Father, Who humiliates Thee to the point of losing even the semblance of man?   …It is to repair and expiate for my haughtiness, that Thou bowest down thus before Thy Father.”

Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese, friend and fellow Capuchin of St. Padre Pio
Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese, fellow Capuchin and friend of St. Padre Pio

It is no wonder then, in the extremity of his own suffering, St. Padre Pio’s last case of bi-location was before the relic of the Holy Face of Jesus at the shrine of “Il Volto Santo” in Manoppello, Italy, 200 km north of San Giovanni Rotundo, where Padre Pio lay dying.  His friend and fellow Friar Minor Capuchin, the Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese, was at that time the rector of the shrine.  Padre Domenico gave testimony that at the dawn of the last day of St. Padre Pio’s earthly life, he unlocked the doors of the shrine of the Holy Face and was astounded to find Padre Pio in prayer, in the choir behind the altar before the Sacred Image of the Face of Jesus.  St. Padre Pio spoke then to Padre Domenico saying, “I do not trust myself any more.  I am coming to an end.  Pray for me.  Good bye until we meet in Paradise.”  24 hours later St. Padre Pio died in his cell in San Giovanni.

Way of the Cross, 6th Station Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary, San Giovanni "Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus"
Way of the Cross, 6th Station, Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary, San Giovanni “Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus”

“If I know that someone is afflicted in body or in soul, what will I not do in the presence of the Lord to see him freed from these evils?  I should willingly take upon myself all his sufferings, if I could only free him from them.  I should surrender in his favor the fruits of these sufferings, if the Lord were to permit it.” — St. Padre Pio

Below are photos of the miraculous image “Il Volto Santo” that Padre Pio prayed before in his own agony.  This “living image” is very difficult to capture in a photograph because it is a changing image, one face, an infinite number of expressions but always a Face of Mercy and Peace.

The Church viewed through the sheet Veil of Manoppello. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
The transparent veil on which, by a “miracle of light” the Face of Christ is visible. Hand of Cardinal Koch Photo: Paul Badde
Image of Manoppello Photo by Paul Badde
Veil of Manoppello Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN
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Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello Photo:Paul Badde/EWTN

Jesus makes Himself our mirror – “He who never meditates is like a person who never looks in the mirror, therefore, not knowing that he is untidy, he goes out looking disorderly.  The person who meditates and directs his thoughts to God, Who is the mirror of his soul, tries to know his faults, attempts to correct them, moderates his impulses, and puts his conscience in order.” — St. Padre Pio

Pope Benedict XVI gazes at the Veil of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Photo:Paul Badde/EWTN
Holy Face Veil of Manoppello
(photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

How Beautiful His Face!!!

The last Mass of St. Padre Pio:

“The Greatest Relic of the Church”

Update: EWTN Bookmark Interview with Paul Badde by Doug Keck may now be viewed (scroll down for Youtube video)

Holy Veil of Manoppello
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

What if you had discovered something that was beyond incredible–something that was, in fact, supernatural–drawing you more deeply in love with Jesus Christ? Would you be willing to suffer skepticism, mockery, and even hostility from others in order to share this treasure of love and mercy with the world?  Well, something like that does exist: It is called the Veil of Manoppello, and Satan is enraged, because this fragile veil is turning souls toward the Face of God.

St. Padre Pio

St. Padre Pio called the Veil of Manoppello “the greatest relic of the Church.”  Shrouded in mystery for centuries, the story of what was known as “the Veronica” or the “true icon” has recently come to light, in part due to the unshakeable conviction of the author, Paul Badde, who has had the courage to tell what he knew to be true; for proclaiming that the Veil of Manoppello is one of the burial cloths of Christ — as did the Servant of God, Padre Domenico da Cese, former Rector of the Shrine of the Holy Face. So, why do so few people know about this “greatest” of relics?

The Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello “the Living Face”
Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

During Holy Week we will have an opportunity to learn more about the Holy Veil, and are invited to share this precious gift with others — EWTN  will air The Human Face of God in the Holy Veil of Manoppello.  And beginning on Easter Sunday, EWTN Bookmark with Doug Keck will interview Paul Badde about his recent book, The Holy Veil of Manoppello. (Details on days and times are listed below.) Though skeptics abound, those who have actually made the pilgrimage to see it with their own eyes have this to say about the miraculous relic of a veil displayed for all the world to “come and see” in the Sanctuary Basilica of Manoppello:

Archbishop Ganswain holding the replica of the Holy Veil of Manoppello at Spirito Santo Church in Rome. 2016

“The Face of Christ is the first, the noblest, and the most precious treasure of the whole of Christendom — more, of the whole earth.” –Archbishop Ganswein, prefect of the Pontifical Household

 

“Here in Manoppello we meet the face of God face to face, and when we look at Him, His gaze cleanses and heals us, God be blessed.” –Robert Cardinal Sarah

Robert Cardinal Sarah at the Sanctuary Basilica of the Holy Face(photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joachim Cardinal Meisner with Veil of the Holy Face of Manoppello (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

“The Face is the monstrance of the heart. In the Holy Face the heart of God becomes visible.”

–Joachim Cardinal Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne
L-R: Archbishop Bruno Forte,  Gerhard Cardinal Müller holding the Veil of the Holy Face, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

My visit to the Volto Santo of Manoppello was moving and profound.  It took a very cherished idea and made it personal and real.  I will always treasure the half-hour I had to pray privately before the holy image.  It is alive; even the expression changes from different angles and with different lighting.  It is like looking at a real human face, looking into the face of Jesus.  The eyes, especially, are very alive and penetrating.  My love for Jesus Christ has become much more personal now.” — Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

Gerhard Cardinal Müller Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

Much remains hidden from the wise and prudent, that God however does reveal to lesser minds in the humility of Faith. Gazing into the most holy face of Jesus, as it was traced into the sudarium on his head, should give us new strength that our life may hold true in the eyes of God. For we believe and know that we will one day see God through and in Christ, the image of God, “face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12) –Gerhard Cardinal Müller

Cardinal Tagle delivers homily at the Basilica Sanctuary of the Holy Face (Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN)

“A Face of Truth and Love.” –Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle

“I saw the Holy Face under the changing of the light, not only a Face of tenderness, but of welcoming.  I saw a Face smiling at me, almost saying, “Welcome Luis Antonio!”  It is a Face that speaks, it is alive, yes, it is the message, the Word is the Face,  It is also a Face turned towards me, but I did not feel fear, fear in front of a judge, or of a face which condemns.  A Face of Truth, and the Truth is love, love wins out over fear.”  

 

Archbishop Edmond Y. Farhat giving blessing with Holy Face. Photo: Paul Badde/EWTN

“It is not an object of another time; it is the icon of the eternal Face, the Face of goodness and of friendship, of mercy and of peace. The Face that speaks, that examines, that asks, that awaits a response. It seems to say: ‘Look at me, you who are tired. Come to me and I will give you rest.’…We fix our gaze on the Holy Face and we will be transformed by God’s mercy. The sign is not an end in itself; the sign is a pointer on the way of the return, the return to the Father.”  –Archbishop Edmond Y. Farhat

 

 

Pope Benedict XVI with Paul Badde on the occasion of the Pope’s pilgrimage to see The Holy Veil in 2006.
The Holy Face of Manoppello and Paul Badde(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The Human Face of God in the Holy Veil of Manoppello will air on EWTN:

Monday, April 15 at 8:00 am ET

Good Friday, April 19 at 2:00 am ET

Holy Saturday, April 20 at 10:30 am ET

 

I only wish this fascinating interview were longer!  “It is much more easy to believe that God is dead than the living God and Resurrected Christ.” Paul’s comment hits the nail on the head about the current crisis of faith, and the deep significance of the meaning of the reappearance of this holy relic of the Face of Christ in Manoppello.

EWTN Bookmark with Doug Keck – Interview with author Paul Badde  on his book The Holy Veil of Manoppello will air:

Easter Sunday, April 21 at 9:30 am ET

re-airing on Easter Monday, April 22 at 5:00 am and 5:00 pm ET, and the following Saturday, April 27 at 1:30 pm.  It will also be broadcast on EWTN Radio (See local times)

Pope Benedict XVI gazes at the Veil of the Holy Face in Manoppello, Photo:Paul Badde/EWTN

Wishing you all a very blessed Holy Week and Easter!